MYRTLE BEACH -- South Carolina first baseman Christian Walker said his game-winning, three-run homer was an inside fastball. But Coastal Carolina coach Gary Gilmore said closer Austin Fleet's most critical pitch was a "hanging slider."

When the subject came up as Gamecock players enjoyed a post-super regional news conference, there were smiles all around.

Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.: "I thought it was a slider, too."

Walker: "Uh …"

Third baseman Adrian Morales: "It was a home run."

So it's settled. Walker by any pitch description was the shiniest star Sunday at BB&T Coastal Field as South Carolina capped a two-game super regional sweep with a 10-9 win.

No doubt, either, that this uniquely constructed ballclub has a lot of what it takes to make a deep run at the College World Series in Omaha: Lots of depth in the lineup and bullpen.

It isn't the best team coach Ray Tanner has had since his program made three straight trips to Omaha from 2002-2004; Lowcountry high school graduates Justin Smoak, Mike Cisco and Reese Havens -- all playing professionally -- were teammates for three years in between then and now.

But the multiple options were on display again Sunday as Tanner used 19 players to earn South Carolina's second one-run win in as many sweltering afternoons.

The Gamecocks used seven pitchers and didn't make an error.

Coastal Carolina made five.

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South Carolina is 48-15, and Tanner in Game 1 of the super regional on Saturday used his 49th different starting lineup of the season. He mixed things up Sunday by going with the same lineup as Saturday.

That's a dugout full of interchangeable parts.

"They designed a team that is pitching and defense and they hang in there," Gilmore said.

"And they just have so many pieces."

Gilmore should know. His Chanticleers had a school-record seven players drafted last week.

The super regional difference might have been the stress put on the Coastal Carolina pitching staff in a rugged three games against the College of Charleston at the Myrtle Beach Regional.

"We were up against it from the get-go because of what it took to get here," Gilmore said.

As Gamecocks players were celebrating on the field and trying on their brand new white and garnet "Carolina Baseball BACK HOME IN OMAHA" T-shirts, Tanner was checking his text messages.

One was from Smoak.

Another from Havens.

"I wanted those guys to get to Omaha as much as anybody," Tanner said.


Of course, he loves these scrappy Gamecocks, too. Bradley describes the team simply as "resilient." Some people come to Myrtle Beach and leave with a new beach towel or a hermit crab. South Carolina took home tickets to Omaha.

"I have some friends in the SEC, some coaching friends. Some guys we play against," Tanner said. "Sometimes I've asked them after we've won a series against them, 'Do you feel like we weren't the best team?' And a lot of them say, 'Well, I know you don't line up like a lot of teams but you win a lot of close games.' That's been the difference."

Maybe it was a hanging slider.

Perhaps a fastball.

But Christian Walker's home run is still sailing over the left-field bleachers at BB&T Coastal Field into Gamecocks baseball lore and all the way to Omaha.

Reach Gene Sapakoff at or (843) 937-5593.